Quote of the day: 2 December

To the King Don Philip II

Avila, 4 December 1577

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your majesty, amen. I strongly believe that our Lady has chosen you to protect and help her order. So, I cannot fail to have recourse to you regarding her affairs. For the love of our Lord, I beg you to pardon me for so much boldness.

I am sure your majesty has received news of how the nuns at the Incarnation tried to have me go there, thinking they would have some means to free themselves from the friars, who are certainly a great hindrance to the recollection and religious observance of the nuns. And the friars are entirely at fault for the lack of observance previously present in that house. The nuns are very much mistaken in their desire that I go there, for as long as they are subject to the friars as confessors and visitators, I would be of no helpat least not of any lasting help. I always said this to the Dominican visitator, and he understood it well.

Since God allowed that situation to exist, I tried to provide a remedy and placed a discalced friar in a house next to them, along with a companion friar. He is so great a servant of our Lord that the nuns are truly edified, and this city is amazed by the remarkable amount of good he has done there, and so they consider him a saint, and in my opinion, he is one and has been one all his life.

When the previous nuncio through a long report sent him by the inhabitants of the city was informed of the things that were happening and of the harm that the friars of the cloth were doing, he gave orders under pain of ex-communication that the confessors be restored to their house (for the calced friars had driven them from the city heaping abuse on them and giving much scandal to everyone). And he also ordered that no friar of the cloth under pain of ex-communication go to the Incarnation for business purposes, to say Mass, or hear confessions, but only the discalced friars and secular clergy. As a result, the house was in a good state until the nuncio died. Then the calced friars returnedand so too the disturbancewithout demonstrating the grounds on which they could do so.

And now a friar who came to absolve the nuns caused such a disturbance without any concern for what is reasonable and just that the nuns are deeply afflicted and still bound by the same penalties as before, according to what I have been told. And worst of all he has taken from them their confessors. They say that he has been made vicar provincial, and this must be true because he is more capable than the others of making martyrs. And he is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers.

The whole city is truly scandalized. He is not a prelate nor did he show any evidence of the authority on which these things were done, for these confessors are subject to the apostolic commissary. Those friars dared so much, even though this city is so close to where your majesty resides, that it doesn’t seem they fear either justice or God. I feel very sad to see these confessors in the hands of those friars who for some days have been desiring to seize hold of them. I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion. And this one friar who is so great a servant of God is so weak from all that he has suffered that I fear for his life.

I beg your majesty for the love of our Lord to issue orders for them to set him free at once and that these poor discalced friars not be subjected to so much suffering by the friars of the cloth. The former do no more than suffer and keep silent and gain a great deal. But the people are scandalized by what is being done to them. This past summer in Toledo, without any reason, the same superior took as prisoner Fray Antonio de Jesúsa holy and blessed man, who was the first discalced friar. They go about saying that with orders from Tostado they will destroy them all. May God be blessed! Those who were to be the means of removing offenses against God have become the cause of so many sins. And each day matters will get worse if your majesty does not provide us with some help. Otherwise, I don’t know where things will end up, because we have no other help on earth.

May it please our Lord that for our sakes you live many years. I hope in him that he will grant us this favor. He is so alone, for there are few who look after his honor. All these servants of your majesty’s, and I ask this of him continually.

Dated in St. Joseph’s in Avila, 4 December 1577.

Your majesty’s unworthy servant and subject,

Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite

 


In early December 1577, St. John of the Cross was abducted from his chaplaincy at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. Sanjuanist scholars disagree on the exact date.

Translator and editor Father Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD indicates that “on the night of December 2, 1577, a group of Carmelites, laypeople, and men-at-arms broke into the chaplain’s quarters, seized Fray John, and took him away” (Kavanagh 1991, Introduction).

Saint Edith Stein, for example, writes, “on the night of December 3, 1577, several of the Calced with their accomplices broke into the living quarters of the nuns’ two confessors and took them away as captives” (Stein 2002, Introduction).

Teresianum professor and Sanjuanist authority Father Iain Matthew simply states this about John’s arrest: “On a cold night in early December, his chaplaincy in Avila was raided. The young man was taken away for interrogation and chastisement. Then he disappeared” (Matthew 1995, p. 9)

Whatever the date may have been, nine long months of physical and psychological torture followed with hardships that most would have found unbearable. Yet out of this darkness emerged the most profound and exquisite poetry that John of the Cross ever wrote.

 

Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
You fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.

 

 

Silhouelk Mark Gunn Flickr 27703036162_53bc7c3800_o
Mark Gunn / Flickr

 

 

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Matthew, I 1995,  The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross,  Hodder & Stoughton, London.

 

Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 24 November

I remember that when my mother died I was twelve years old or a little less. When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. For I have found favor with this sovereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of Her Life, Chap. 1

 


On 24 November 1528 Doña Beatriz Dávila Ahumada y de las Cuevas—better known as Doña Beatriz de Ahumada—made her last will and testament. Scholars such as Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Joseph Pérez indicate that it is believed she expired soon after she made and signed her will, dying in her palace at Gotarrendura, Avila. From there, her body was taken to the city with all due ceremony where she received a burial with honors in the Church of San Juan in Avila.

Spanish Wikipedia editor CrisDC has done a fine job creating and editing a small biography for Doña Beatriz drawing upon the research of Pérez and others, as well as consulting the Cepeda genealogy.

Father Kavanaugh discusses the “image of our Lady” in his notes to St. Teresa’s Life:

According to an old tradition, she is referring to a statue of Our Lady of Charity that was venerated in the hermitage of St. Lazarus, outside the walls of the city, near the river Adaja. After the destruction of the hermitage in the nineteenth century, the statue was moved to the cathedral where it is venerated today.

This statue of Our Lady of Charity is found in the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows (Capilla de la virgen de la piedad o de los dolores) in the Cathedral of Avila. You can learn more about the chapel here on the cathedral website and see a better photo of the chapel here on Wikimedia Commons, which includes the statue of Our Lady of Charity.

Finally, thanks to Flickr members javiolano for sharing his photo of the stunning autumn colors along Camino Río Arbillas in Avila in November 2016 and to juanobe for his photo of the famous “image of our Lady” who received the tears of a grief-stricken child named Teresa.

 

Virgen de la Caridad Cathedral of Avila Juan NOLLA BENAGES Flickr 6037499941_a7cf838ff2_o
Virgen de la Caridad, Cathedral of Avila | juanobe / Flickr

 

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Quote of the day: 2 November

To King Don Philip II, Madrid
Seville, 19 July 1575
Jesus.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be always with your majesty. While much afflicted and praying to our Lord about the affairs of this holy order of our Lady and considering the great need there is that these initiatives God has taken in its regard not crumble, it occurred to me that the best safeguard for us would be that you realize what giving a solid foundation to this edifice entails; even the calced friars would benefit from the increase in numbers.

I have lived among them for 40 years

and, considering everything, I know clearly that if a separate province is not made for the discalced friarsand soongreat harm will be done, and I think it will be impossible for them to move ahead. Since this lies in your hands and I see that the Blessed Virgin, our Lady, has chosen you to support and protect her order, I have dared to write and beg you that for the love of our Lord and his glorious Mother you give orders that this separate province be formed…

Your majesty’s unworthy servant and subject,

Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite

 


 

Teresa Enters the Convent MetMuseum DP310147
Vita B. Virginis Teresiae 
Plate 4: Teresa Enters the Convent 
Adriaen Collaert (Netherlandish, 1560-1618) Engraving, 1613 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

On the 2nd of November 1535, Saint Teresa entered the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila when she was twenty years old. The Lord had been preparing her for that moment by a long and circuitous route; even after she said “yes” to Him, there was no straight path to her goal:

My fondness for good books was my salvation. Reading the Letters of St. Jerome so encouraged me that I decided to tell my father about my decision to take the habit, for I was so persistent in points of honor that I don’t think I would have turned back for anything once I told him. So great was his love for me that in no way was I able to obtain his permission or achieve anything through persons I asked to intercede for me. The most we could get from him was that after his death I could do whatever I wanted. I was afraid of myself and my frailty and of backing down; and since I could not wait so long, I tried to do it by another way… (Book of Her Life, 3)

Her “other way” was so secretive, one would think that St. John of the Cross had her story in mind when he wrote the first stanza of his poem, ‘The Dark Night’:

One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

Indeed, Teresa went out unseen from her house, or rather, from her father’s house:

I remember, clearly and truly, that when I left my father’s house I felt that separation so keenly that the feeling will not be greater, I think, when I die. For it seemed that every bone in my body was being sundered. Since there was no love of God to take away my love for my father and relatives, everything so constrained me that if the Lord hadn’t helped me, my reflections would not have been enough for me to continue on. In this situation, He gave me such courage against myself that I carried out the task. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Teresian scholar Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes that her father did, in fact, come to “accept it all with resignation, gave her a dowry that was more than substantial, and acquired for his daughter a private room of her own in the monastery.” (Book of Her Life, Introduction)

Exactly one year later, on the 2nd of November 1536, Saint Teresa received the habit of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father Kavanaugh notes that the prioress was Doña Mencía Cimbrón, “a distant relative of Teresa’s”.

The lessons that Saint Teresa learned on November 2 can serve us well:

As soon as I took the habit, the Lord gave me an understanding of how He favors those who use force with themselves to serve Him (…) When I recall this, there is no task that could be presented to me, no matter how hard, that I would hesitate to undertake. For I have already experienced in many ways that if I strive at the outset with determination to do it, even in this life His Majesty pays the soul in such ways that only one who has this joy understands it. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Saint Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.

 

TERESA signature Blogfeatureimage
Signature of St. Teresa conserved in the general archives of the City of Burgos

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 1 November

Pilgrim in the footsteps of Saint Teresa of Jesus, with great satisfaction and joy I come to Avila. In this city there are so many Teresian places, such as the monastery of Saint Joseph, the first of the “dovecotes” founded by her; this monastery of the Incarnation, where Saint Teresa received the Carmelite habit, made her religious profession, had her decisive “conversion” and lived her experience of total consecration to Christ. It can well be said that this is the shrine of the contemplative life, place of great mystical experiences, and the focal point of monastic foundations.

To contemplate so many cloistered religious today, I cannot help but think about the great Spanish monastic tradition, its influence on Spanish culture, customs and life. Isn’t it here where the moral strength dwells, where there is a continuous reference to the spirit of the Spaniards?

The Pope calls you today to continue cultivating your consecrated life through a liturgical, biblical and spiritual renewal, following the guidelines of the Council. All this requires a permanent formation that enriches your spiritual life, giving it a solid doctrinal, theological and cultural foundation. In this way, you will be able to give the evangelical response that so many young people of our time expect, who today also approach your monasteries, attracted by a life of generous surrender to the Lord.

In this regard I want to issue a call to Christian communities and their Pastors, reminding them of the irreplaceable position occupied by the contemplative life in the Church. We all must deeply value and esteem the dedication of contemplative souls to prayer, praise, and sacrifice.

They are very necessary in the Church. They are living prophets and teachers for all; they are the vanguard of the Church on the way to the kingdom. Their attitude toward the realities of this world, which they contemplate according to the wisdom of the Spirit, enlightens us about the last things and makes us feel the gratuitousness of God’s saving love. I, therefore, urge everyone to try to foster vocations to monastic life among young women, in the assurance that these vocations will enrich the whole life of the Church.

Daughters of Carmel: May you be living images of your Mother Teresa, of her spirituality and her humanism. May you truly be as she was and wanted to be calledand as I wish her to be calledTeresa of Jesus.

Saint John Paul II

Meeting with Cloistered Nuns (excerpts)
Carmel of the Incarnation, Ávila
1 November 1982

 

 

1982 Nuns at the Encarncion Avila to see JP2 1nov82 ElPais
Roughly 3000 cloistered nuns representing approximately 15,000 contemplative religious gathered at the Carmel of the Incarnation in Ávila on All Saints Day, where they awaited the Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II. Having spent the entire night outside the monastery in a prayer vigil, they were overjoyed at the sight of his helicopter when it arrived. For some, this was the first time they had left their cloisters in decades. | Ricardo Martín / El País (See more)

 

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Conversation in Avila — Phyllis McGinley

Teresa was God’s familiar. She often spoke
To Him informally,
As if together they shared some heavenly joke.
Once, watching stormily
Her heart’s ambitions wither to odds and ends,
With all to start anew,
She cried, “If this is the way you treat your friends,
No wonder you have so few!”

There is, however, no record standing by
Of God’s reply.

Phyllis McGinley

Conversation in Avila

 

HAWTHORNE_Avila
Avila
Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872-1930)
Watercolor on paper, 1929
Private collection

 

 

McGinley, P 1954, The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, Viking Press, New York.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 15 October

But what disorder in the way I write! Really, it’s as though the work were done by one who doesn’t know what she’s doing. The fault is yours, Sisters, because you are the ones who ordered me to write this. Read it as best you can, for I am writing it as best I can. And if you find that it is all wrong, burn it. Time is necessary to do the work well, and I have so little as you see, for eight days must have gone by in which I haven’t written anything. So I forget what I have said and also what I was going to say. Now it is wrong for me to ask you to avoid doing what I have just finished doing, that is, making excuses. For I see that not making excuses for oneself is a habit characteristic of high perfection, and very meritorious; it gives great edification. And although I have often taught it to you, and by God’s goodness you practice it, His Majesty has never given it to me.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Way of Perfection, Chap. 15

 

 

inaguración por Juan Pablo II-1
Saint John Paul II blessed the monument of St. Teresa next to the Gate of Alcazar during his visit to Avila for the closing of the fourth centenary jubilee year of her death, 1 November 1982. During his homily at the Mass, he said, “I have come here today to Avila to adore the Wisdom of God.” | Photo credit: Teresa de la rueca a la pluma

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 5 October

The Apparitions of St. Teresa

As told by Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

 

Teresian expert Father Kieran Kavanaugh reminds us that “on September 29 the Madre went to bed never to rise again. She had suffered a hemorrhaging from which it was understood that she would die.”

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew was constantly at her side throughout those final days. She herself writes, “I did not leave her for a moment. I begged the religious to bring me what was necessary for her. I gave it to her. It was a consolation to her for me to do so.”

On 3 October, her condition worsened; the doctor administered a painful cupping treatment, Father Kavanaugh explains. On 4 October, the feast of St. Francis, Fr. Kavanaugh says that “she remained in prayer, in deep quiet and peace, without speaking or stirring throughout the whole day.”

Poor Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, who had virtually no respite for hours, was ordered by Father Antonio of Jesus (Heredia)St. John of the Cross’ companion in the first foundation of Discalced Carmelite friars at Duruelo“to go and get something to eat. But Teresa began looking about, and when Antonio asked her if she was looking for Sister Ana, she gestured affirmatively.”

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew hurried back to St. Teresa’s cell. . .

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Panel from the great reliquary of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew in Antwerp depicts the death of St. Teresa in her arms | Tijl Vereenooghe, erfgoed / Flickr

 


As soon as she saw me, she smiled at me, showed me such condescension and affection that she caught me with her two hands and rested her head in my arms. I held her thus in my embrace until she expired.

As the Saint loved me so much, I had begged her to console me, and to ask of our Lord for me perfect liberty of spirit, without attachment for anyone whomsoever. I was naturally affectionate, and I loved the Saint more than anyone could love her, also the other religious whom I saw advanced in perfection and loved by the Saint.

I loved them very much, and sometimes the Saint told me this attachment for friends was not good for my soul, and I must overcome it for my spiritual welfare; but until that hour when God called her to Himself, I had not succeeded.

It was she who obtained this grace for me, for from that time I was free and detached and it seemed to me that I had a yet greater love for the religious, loving them without any mixture of self-love; and, for the rest, it was as if I were alone in the world. I love all my Sisters in God and for God.

I received such strength of soul to prepare the body of the Saint for burial, that I did it with as much calmness as if her death had been a matter of indifference to me.

I wished to remain in that convent, but neither the Superior nor the religious of the Monastery of Avila, to which I belonged, would give their consent. They sent for me in haste. I felt some perplexity of soul. But the Saint appeared to me and said: “My daughter, obey the command given you, and depart!”

From the time of my return to the Convent of Avila, I prayed to the Saint and recommended myself to her. I spoke of this to my confessor. He told me it was wrong to recommend myself to a Saint who was not yet canonized and commanded me not to do it.

That same night whilst asleep, the Saint appeared to me most glorious and resplendent. She said to me: “My child, ask of me anything you wish and I will obtain it for you.”

Awakening, then, I said to her: ‘I ask of you the Spirit of God, that it may always dwell in my soul.”

She disappeared, leaving me in perfect certainty of the opinion I had formed of her sanctity. The command of my confessor, however, did not fail to cause me pain, for he had told me not to pray to her as a Saint. Even had not the signal favors granted her by God, and which proved that He loved her, led me to think her such, the consideration alone of the love with which she had endured for God so many labors, of which I was witness, and in which I had taken some part, would cause me to state as a certainty that she was a real Saint.

From the time in which she appeared to me in such great glory, as I have already narrated, I earnestly desired that her holy body should be brought back to Avila. One day, occupied with this thought, and believing that they feared to remove the holy body because they knew not in what condition they would find it, I fervently begged of our Lord to make this known to me.

Immediately I entered into a spiritual slumber, and angels carried me to the sepulcher; they opened it and showed me the body; it was entire, having the same color as when later they brought it forth from the tomb, and it exhaled the same odor and perfume.

The angels showed me two sleeves on her arms, also entire and in the same condition as when I placed them there. They said: “Are you satisfied? Do you wish anything more?”

I replied yes, that I would be more satisfied if I saw the Saint in her own convent at Avila, but that the Duke of Alba would never consent to it.

They said to me: “Do not make any account of the opposition of the Duke of Alba. It is the king who will decide; this matter depends on him alone.”

 

alba tormes corazon 01
The heart of St. Teresa is preserved in a reliquary  above the altar of the Carmel of Alba de Tormes | Photo credit: annabelfrage.com

 

The Duke and Duchess of Alba died soon after, and the king, to please his heirs, was unwilling that the holy body should be transferred to Avila. Before this happened, the Order earnestly desired the translation of the holy body from Alba to Avila.

My tender affection for the Saint led me to recommend the affair to God with great fervor. Our Lord said to me: “Do not be troubled; the holy body will return to this house.”

Continuing with importunity, I asked our Lord when this would take place, because I was eager to know. He replied: “It will be on the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.”

There was still almost a year to wait; but on the day fixed the thing was accomplished; they took the body of the Saint from the house at Alba and transferred it to that of Avila.

It was received there with the liveliest transports of joy. The number of lights burning was so great the convent seemed like heaven. The Saint gave a thousand proofs of tenderness towards her children; in whatever part of the convent they might be, she appeared to them and consoled them.

 

Apparition in Segovia Cuzco artist Patrimonio Catolico Pero
One of St Teresa’s many apparitions to her nuns is captured in this 18th c. Peruvian oil painting by an unidentified Cuzco artist | Photo credit: PESSCA Archives

 

Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917,  Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by anonymous, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 3 September

Confession of St John of the Cross - Puebla
Confession of Saint John of the Cross
José Joaquín Magón (Mexican, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
Learn more about the Carmelite paintings of José Joaquín Magón here

 

The discalced friar who is confessor here is doing great good; he is Fray John of the Cross.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 45 to Doña Juana de Ahumada, Alba de Tormes

 

Avila_San Jose de Avila antique postcard 01
Antique postcard of the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Saint Joseph in Avila, Spain | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

When everything was ready the Lord was pleased that on St. Bartholomew’s day the habit was received by some and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved and with all due authority and power our monastery of our most glorious father St. Joseph was founded, in 1562.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Story of Her Life, Chap. 36

 

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa, 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 31 July

To Don Cristóbal Rodríguez de Moya, Segura de la Sierra

Avila, 28 June 1568

 

Our Lord has brought together in these houses persons who amaze me and leave me completely confounded, for those chosen must be persons of prayer, suited for our way of life. If they are not, we do not take them. God gives them ordinarily a joy and happiness so great that they seem to be in a paradise on earth.

This is a fact, as your honor can learn from many people, especially if any members of the Society of Jesus who have been here pass through. For they know me and have seen this.

They are my Fathers to whom, after our Lord, my soul owes every good it possesses, if it does possess any.

And one of the things that attracts me to those ladies and to serving you in every way I can, is that they have conversed with these Fathers. Not every spiritual person satisfies me as being suited for our monasteries, but those who have had these Fathers as confessors do.

Almost all those who are in our houses are their daughters—I don’t remember any that I have accepted who were not. They are the ones who suit us. For since these Fathers nurtured my soul, the Lord has granted me the favor of having their spirit planted in these monasteries.

 

Jesuits_first Jesuit saints_Lima
First Jesuit Saints. Lima school 17th c., oil painting. Comunidad Jesuita de Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Lima. | Juan Manuel Chocano Chávez SJ / Pinterest

 

And so, if you are familiar with their rules, you will see that in many things in our constitutions we are like them. For I received a brief from the pope to draw up constitutions, and when Our Most Reverend General came here, he approved them and gave orders that they be observed in all the monasteries founded by me.

And he ordered that the Fathers of the Society be preachers for the nuns and that no major superior could hinder them from doing so; and that if they wanted, they could be the nuns’ confessors. But the fact is that they have a rule forbidding this, and so, except on rare occasions, we cannot confess to them. Nonetheless, they frequently speak to us and give us counsel and do us much good.

I had the same desire that those ladies have, to submit the house to the direction of these Fathers, and I tried to do it.

I know for certain they will not accept a monastery, even were it the wish of the princess, for they would have to care for too many in the kingdom; so, it’s something impossible.

I praise God that like no other order we have a freedom to speak with them, a freedom that we are sure will never be taken from us….

Written in Avila in the monastery of St. Joseph, 28 June 1568.

Your honor’s unworthy servant,
Teresa of Jesus


Translator Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes: Don Cristóbal, a wealthy widower, was trying to decide whether to found a Teresian Carmel or a Jesuit school. His two daughters and he wanted spiritual direction from the Jesuits. A Franciscan friend of Teresa’s interceded in favor of the Carmel. At this point, Teresa wrote the following letter, but in the end, Don Cristóbal decided in favor of the Jesuits. The authentic text of the letter is incomplete.

The text that we present includes the first nine numbers of Letter 11, which “have undergone some decided tampering. Because some of the thought is still Teresa’s”, Fr. Rodriguez added these all-important paragraphslong cherished by Jesuits and Teresian Carmelites alikein an annotation to Letter 11.

 

Ignatius Loyola_Círculo de Diego Valentín Díaz_1620
Saint Ignatius Loyola
Circle of Diego Valentín Díaz (Spanish, 17th c.)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1620
Iglesia de Santiago el Real, Medina del Campo

 

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Praesidium Scapularis: Novena 2

THE WAY OF PERFECTION

The book called The Way of Perfection written by Teresa of Jesus, a nun of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel. This book is intended for the discalced nuns who observe the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel.

JHS

This book deals with the advice and counsel Teresa of Jesus gives to her religious Sisters and daughters who live in the monasteries that, with the help of our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mother of God, our Lady, she founded. These monasteries follow the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. She directs her counsel particularly to the Sisters at St. Joseph’s monastery in Avila, which was the first foundation and the place where she was prioress when she wrote this book.

In all that I say in this book I submit to what our Mother the Holy Roman Church holds. If there should be anything contrary to that, it will be due to my not understanding the matter. And so I beg the learned men who will see this work to look it over carefully and to correct any mistake there may be as to what the Church holds, as well as any other mistakes in other matters. If there should be anything good in this work, may it be for the honor and glory of God and the service of His most Blessed Mother, our Lady and Patroness, whose habit I wear despite my being very unworthy to do so.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Way of Perfection: Foreword


JHS

Este libro trata de avisos y consejos que da Teresa de Jesús a las hermanas religiosas e hijas suyas de los monasterios que con el favor de nuestro Señor y de la gloriosa Virgen Madre de Dios, Señora nuestra, ha fundado de la Regla primera de nuestra Señora del Carmen. En especial le dirige a las hermanas del monasterio de San José de Avila, que fue el primero, de donde ella era priora cuando le escribió.

En todo lo que en él dijere, me sujeto a lo que tiene la madre Santa Iglesia Romana, y si alguna cosa fuere contraria a esto, es por no lo entender. Y así, a los letrados que lo han de ver, pido, por amor de nuestro Señor, que muy particularmente lo miren y enmienden si alguna falta en esto hubiere, y otras muchas que tendrá en otras cosas. Si algo hubiere bueno, sea para gloria y honor de Dios y servicio de su sacratísima Madre, Patrona y Señora nuestra, cuyo hábito yo tengo, aunque harto indigna de él.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Camino de Perfección: Introducción

 

San Martin4
La Virgen del Carmen ampara a Santa Teresa y a San Juan de la Cruz
School of Gregorio Fernández, c. 1700
Church of San Martín, León
Detail of photo by Juan Carlos Ponga

 

SCRIPTURE
Colossians 3:1-17

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Marie du jour: 29 May

THE WAY OF PERFECTION

The book called The Way of Perfection written by Teresa of Jesus, a nun of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel. This book is intended for the discalced nuns who observe the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel.

JHS

This book deals with the advice and counsel Teresa of Jesus gives to her religious Sisters and daughters who live in the monasteries that, with the help of our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mother of God, our Lady, she founded. These monasteries follow the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. She directs her counsel particularly to the Sisters at St. Joseph’s monastery in Avila, which was the first foundation and the place where she was prioress when she wrote this book.

In all that I say in this book I submit to what our Mother the Holy Roman Church holds. If there should be anything contrary to that, it will be due to my not understanding the matter. And so I beg the learned men who will see this work to look it over carefully and to correct any mistake there may be as to what the Church holds, as well as any other mistakes in other matters. If there should be anything good in this work, may it be for the honor and glory of God and the service of His most Blessed Mother, our Lady and Patroness, whose habit I wear despite my being very unworthy to do so.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Foreword to the Way of Perfection

 

TERESA Way of Perfection autograph manuscript Valladolid
Original autograph manuscript of the Way of Perfection preserved in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Valladolid | Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

 

The Way of Perfection, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 14 May

To have had virtuous and God-fearing parents

To have had virtuous and God-fearing parents along with the graces the Lord granted me should have been enough for me to have led a good life if I had not been so wretched. My father was fond of reading good books, and thus he also had books in Spanish for his children to read. These good books together with the care my mother took to have us pray and be devoted to our Lady and to some of the saints began to awaken me when, I think, six or seven years old, to the practice of virtue. It was a help to me to see that my parents favored nothing but virtue. And they themselves possessed many.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life, Chapter 1



The parents of Saint Teresa, Don Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda (1480?-1543), a widower and Doña Beatriz de Ahumada (1495?-1529) were married in Gotarrendura, Avila on 14 May 1509. 

Garcia_miranda
The Education of Saint Theresa
Juan García de Miranda (Spanish, 1677-1749)
Oil on canvas, 1735
Museo del Prado
A young Theresa of Ávila reads a book in a characteristic sixteenth-century room surrounded by her mother and sisters, who are sewing, and her brother Rodrigo, who listens attentively as he is a keen enthusiast of the lives of saints. The work belonged to a series devoted to the life of Saint Theresa most likely in some Carmelite institution.

 

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 1; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

On Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday after Communion, my faculties remained in such deep suspension that I couldn’t even swallow the host; and, holding it in my mouth, after I returned a little to myself, it truly seemed to me that my entire mouth was filled with blood. I felt that my face and all the rest of me was also covered with this blood, as though the Lord had just then finished shedding it. It seemed to me warm, and the sweetness I then experienced was extraordinary. The Lord said to me: “Daughter, I want my blood to be beneficial to you, and don’t be afraid that My mercy will fail you. I shed it with many sufferings, and you enjoy it with the great delight you are aware of; I repay you well for the banquet you prepare me this day.”

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 22 Eucharistic experience
(Probably Avila, March 30, 1572)

Entry into Jerusalem_NESTEROV_1900
Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem
Mikhail Vasilevich Nesterov, (Russian, 1862 – 1942)
Painting – gouache, 1900
The State Russian Museum – Saint Petersburg

 

Spiritual Testimonies: Number 22
The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

 

Quote of the day: 4 April

You, my soul’s Good, do not fail those who desire You

O, my powerful God! Since even though we may not so desire, You must judge us, why don’t we consider how important it is to please You before that hour comes? But who, who will not want so just a Judge? Blessed will they be who in that fearful moment rejoice with You, my God and Lord! The soul You have raised up has known how miserably lost it was for the sake of gaining a very brief satisfaction, and it is determined to please You always. Since You, my soul’s Good, do not fail those who desire You or cease to respond to those who call upon You, what remedy, through Your favor, Lord, will You provide that the soul may be able to live afterward and not be dying over the remembrance of having lost the great good it once possessed through the innocence that came from baptism?

Saint Teresa of Avila
Soliloquies No. 3, Merciful Redeemer and just Judge

Baptism font of Teresa of Jesus
Baptismal font in the parish of Saint John the Baptist, where Saint Teresa of Avila was baptized | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Seremban, Malaysia 

On Holy Wednesday 4 April 1515, Saint Teresa of Avila was baptized in the parish of St. John the Baptist in Avila, Spain. Her godfather was Francisco Núñez Vela, the brother of Blasco Núñez Vela y Villalba (c. 1490 – January 18, 1546), the first Spanish viceroy of Peru; her godmother was María del Aguila.

pila-bautismal_delaruecaalapluma
Baptismal font, parish of St. John the Baptist, Avila | Photo: Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma blog
Soliloquies: 3, Merciful Redeemer and just Judge; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 28 March

Vuestra soy, para Vos nací. …

Take, O Lord, my loving heart:
See, I yield it to Thee whole,
With my body, life, and soul
And my nature’s every part.
Sweetest Spouse, my Life Thou art;
I have given myself to Thee:
What wilt Thou have done with me?

I am Thine, and born for Thee:
What wilt Thou have done with me?

Saint Teresa of Avila
Born 28 March 1515

Vuestra soy, para Vos nací (excerpt)
Translated by E. Alison Peers

Thanks to biographer William Thomas Walsh we have this note from Saint Teresa’s father Don Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda: “on Wednesday, on the twenty-eighth day of March, of the year 1515, was born my daughter Teresa, at five o’clock in the morning, half an hour before or after (it was just about to dawn on that said Wednesday).”

 

 

 

¡Ya es tiempo de caminar!

¡Ya es tiempo de caminar, andando por los caminos de la alegría, de la oración, de la fraternidad, del tiempo vivido como gracia! Recorramos los caminos de la vida de la mano de santa Teresa. Sus huellas nos conducen siempre a Jesús.

Papa Francisco

Mensaje del Santo Padre Francisco al obispo de Ávila con motivo de la apertura del Año Jubilar Teresiano
15 de octubre de 2014

CAPROTTI-Guido_La monjas ante Avila
Monjas Carmelitas ante Ávila, Guido Caprotti (1938)

See this photo and more from the online Teresian art collection of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Alba de Tormes

Vea esta foto y más de la colección de arte teresiana en línea de las monjas carmelitas descalzas de Alba de Tormes

 

Fiesta de san José. Reflexión sobre el tema vocacional — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

Daniel de Pablo Maroto, ocd “La Santa” (Ávila)

La Fiesta de San José evoca, entre otros sentimientos, el recuerdo del “día del seminario” donde se educan los futuros sacerdotes. Con ese motivo, ofrezco unas reflexiones sobre las “vocaciones” sacerdotales y religiosas, tan escasas en tiempo de sequía de la fe cristiana, un hecho alarmante […]

via Fiesta de san José. Reflexión sobre el tema vocacional — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

TERESA AVILA - I am a daughter of the Church IGsize
At five in the afternoon, Teresa asked that Padre Antonio bring her Communion. When the Eucharist was brought in, her countenance changed and grew radiant with a kind of reverent beauty, making her look much younger. The impulses of love became so ardent that it seemed she who had been dying now wanted to leap from the bed to receive her Lord. She spoke aloud fervent words of love: “O my Lord and my Spouse, now the hour has arrived for us to go forth from this exile, and my soul rejoices in oneness with You over what I have so much desired.” She also uttered fervent prayers of thanksgiving to God for having made her a daughter of the Church and enabling her to die within it. [The Book of Her Foundations: Introduction]

Teresa de Jesús y ‘La pluma dorada’: Scholarly articles and estudios dedicados a Alison Weber — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma blog

Nota Bene: Míriada Hispánica is the academic review published by the University of Virginia Hispanic Studies Program. The most recent issue, No. 16, is dedicated as a festschrift in homage to Professor Alison Weber upon her retirement from the University as Professor of Spanish. Well known among Carmelites for her groundbreaking work Teresa de Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity  (Princeton UP, 1990; reprinted in paperback in 1996), Dr. Weber continues to teach as a Professor Emerita and continues to pursue her research interests concerning Saint Teresa, the Spanish mystics, and women’s writing in early modern Spain. Numero 16 of Míriada Hispánica features two articles in English in regard to Carmelite themes. Teresa of Avila, Courtier by Professor Luis Corteguera of the University of Kansas examines Teresa of Avila’s views on authority as reflected in her courtly metaphors. María de San José in Portugal: Life in the Lisbon Carmel by Dr. Barbara Mujica, Professor of Spanish Emerita at Georgetown University offers a detailed, fascinating, and well-sourced account of the María de San José’s influence and experience that prepared the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Lisbon to cope with the English attack on their monastery in 1589.

The entire issue is available for free download here

 

La profesora Alison Weber, recientemente jubilada de la Universidad de Virgina, ha sido objeto de un homenaje por parte de la revista Miriada Hispánica, que edita la Universidad de Virginia en su Centro de Estudios de Valencia (Hispanic Studies Program). El último número, coordinado por Jennifer E. Barlow, está dedicado a temas muy queridos por […]

via Teresa de Jesús y ‘La pluma dorada’. Estudios dedicados a Alison Weber — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

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